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VESTERGAARD FRANDSEN S/A (now called MVF3 APS) & ORS v BESTNET EUROPE LTD & 5 ORS

A former employee was not liable for breach of confidence related to the misuse of confidential information as she had not had actual or objective knowledge of the confidential information in question either during her employment or afterwards. To hold her liable would be inconsistent with legal principle and with maintaining the balance between effectively protecting intellectual property rights and not unreasonably inhibiting competition in the market place.

24 May 2013

[2013] UKSC 31

SC - Lord Neuberger JSC, Lord Clarke JSC, Lord Sumption JSC, Lord Reed JSC, Lord Carnwath JSC

22 May 2013

The appellant companies (V) appealed against a decision ([2011] EWCA Civ 424) that the respondent former employee (G) was not liable for a breach of confidence in relation to misuse of confidential information.

V manufactured insecticidal fabrics used in mosquito nets. G and another former employee (L) had founded a company which was in competition with V. Prior to leaving V, G had worked with a consultant biologist (S) also employed by V. S was involved in developing a new product for G and L's company. V's case was that the product had been developed using confidential information from a database created for V by S. In Vestergaard Frandsen A/S v Bestnet Europe Ltd [2009] EWHC 657 (Ch), the court found that S had breached his duty not to use any confidential information acquired during his work for V, and that G was al...

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